CATL will supply batteries for the production version of the announced Mercedes-Benz eActros LongHaul from 2024 onwards. Daimler’s commercial vehicle division has also entered into its own collaborations with Engie, EVBox, Siemens Smart Infrastructure for EV infrastructure and Shell for fuel cell truck infrastructure.
Firstly regarding the deal with CATL: According to Daimler Trucks, the battery supply agreement with CATL extends beyond 2030. The batteries for the eActros LongHaul are said to feature high energy density with an extremely long service life as well as fast-charging capability. As a result, the batteries are said to “meet the special requirements for battery-electric long-haul trucks.” The range of the eActros LongHaul announced in September 2020 is expected to be 500 kilometres.
In addition, Daimler and CATL are planning to develop even more advanced next-generation batteries for truck-specific applications jointly. The main focus here will be a high level of modularity and scalability. The aim is to use the batteries flexibly for different applications and future electric truck models. Daimler Truck AG and CATL already signed a global supply agreement in 2019 for battery cell modules for use in the Mercedes-Benz eActros, Freightliner eCascadia and Freightliner eM2 e-truck models.
“Expanding and strengthening our strong collaboration with CATL will play a key role as we accelerate our electrification activities and lead the way to zero emissions in the truck industry,” said Martin Daum, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler Truck AG. “We will launch a wide range of customer-oriented, innovative series-produced electric trucks from 2021 onwards.” CATL CEO Robin Zeng adds, “we believe our strong global partnership will further enhance Daimler Truck AG’s market position on the e-mobility stage.”
As part of the strategy day held on Thursday, Daimler Truck AG revealed the specifics of its fleet targets. The overarching goal of offering only new vehicles that are CO2-neutral in driving mode (“tank-to-wheel”) by 2039 in Europe, Japan and North America has already been clear since 2019.
5,000 Mercedes-Benz heavy-duty fuel cell trucks by 2030
As announced in February, Daimler Trucks plans to spin-off from Mercedes-Benz AG (passenger cars and vans) by the end of this year. Now, these plans have become more specific. By 2022, the vehicle portfolio is to include series-production vehicles with battery-electric drive in the main sales regions of Europe, the U.S. and Japan. Daimler Trucks aims to hand over the first heavy-duty hydrogen fuel cell trucks to customers in 2025. This is to be followed in 2027 by the series-production version of the GenH2 truck, a truck with a hydrogen-based fuel cell. Daimler Trucks says they are aiming to deliver around 5,000 Mercedes-Benz heavy-duty fuel cell trucks by 2030.
With these vehicles, Daimler Truck AG aims to achieve a sales share of up to 60 per cent of zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) in 2030 as an intermediate step, i.e., BEV and FCEV combined. “Our mission as an independent company is clear: We will lead the way to zero-emission transportation by accelerating the development of battery and fuel cell vehicles,” says Daum.
Collaborations on infrastructure
To achieve these goals, Daimler Trucks has announced technology collaborations for infrastructure. For the charging infrastructure of battery-electric trucks, the German truck-maker plans to work with Engie, EVBox and Siemens Smart Infrastructure. The partners are to advise and supply Daimler customers with the appropriate charging solutions in each case.
Daimler Truck AG has also signed an agreement with Shell to set up a suitable hydrogen network for the fuel cell trucks. According to the agreement, Shell is planning production sites for green hydrogen in Rotterdam, Hamburg and the Rhineland refinery in Cologne-Godorf. Starting in 2024, a network of refuelling stations for heavy trucks will be operated between these three sites. The plan is to continuously expand the hydrogen-powered freight corridor, which Daimler says will cover 1200 kilometres by 2025. By 2030, there should then be 150 hydrogen refuelling stations.
Incidentally, Daimler Truck has not yet specified in which or how many forms the hydrogen is to be offered at these refuelling stations: the technology currently prevailing on the market with high-pressure storage of gaseous hydrogen; or the solution – currently envisaged for the GenH2 truck – with cryogenic hydrogen, i.e. liquid hydrogen at -253 degrees Celsius.
Investment away from fossil fuels to zero-emission technology
The focus on zero-emission drives also has consequences for other parts of the company. As stated at the strategy day for analysts and investors, Daimler Truck plans to reduce spending on combustion engines and redirect the majority of R&D spending to zero-emission vehicle technologies by 2025. “Every region has to perform competitively, and we are ready to take the necessary measures to achieve this goal,” Daum said. “We are prepared to make tough decisions to reduce our fixed costs and further improve our financial performance.”